John Hunter Nemechek finished second in Sunday afternoon’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at South Carolina’s historic Darlington Raceway. The finish locked the Tundra driver into round two of the NASCAR Playoffs as he pursues the series championship. Fellow Tundra drivers Stewart Friesen (third), Grant Enfinger (sixth), Chandler Smith (seventh), Johnny Sauter (eighth) and Matt Crafton (10th) also claimed top-10 results.”
JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK, No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Finishing Position: 2nd
What more did you need to catch Sheldon Creed in the closing laps?
“Clean air. Just super hard to pass. Same thing as last fall, same thing we fight in the Truck Series every week. I don’t know, we have to do a little bit better – think we could have controlled the race. They weren’t going to get by us. We made a last ditch effort. Proud of all the KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) guys – Mobil 1, Toyota, TRD and everyone who helps. Just have to say thank you. This one hurts. We had the dominant truck here in the spring and came back and ran second here today. On to Bristol. We should be starting first or second. Hopefully we can go get a win there. The only thing that matters is that we locked ourselves into the next round today. That’s all it is. The eyes are set on the prize. We want to win every single week, but there is a big trophy at the end of the year that means the most.”
What did you take away from this race?
“We just needed track position. We needed clean air. We addressed it, I felt like the right way and had a truck to contend. What mattered today if we couldn’t win was locking ourselves into the next round and advancing. We were able to do that by a pretty good margin I felt like. Overall, a solid performance. Our Toyota Tundra was fast. Just needed a little bit more. It definitely stings knowing we had the dominant truck here in the spring, gave that one away. Then to come back and run second, it hurts. We’ll take the momentum, not going to dwell on this. Just one race of the Playoffs and now we’re focused on the next round. Bristol doesn’t mean anything to us other than to go out there and try to win. Then the next round starts and all that focus is on those three races to make it to Phoenix. Eyes on the big trophy at the end of the year.”
STEWART FRIESEN, No. 52 Halmar International Toyota Tundra, Halmar Friesen Racing
Finishing Position: 3rd
Did you have anything for the lead two trucks in the closing laps?
“Great day for the Halmar team – thanks to Chris Larson for everything. He’s always been there for me in my career. It was cool –- our best run for HFR, proud of that. Another good day for us. We got off sequence and we just fought a loose condition all day. Got off sequence and got those tires and we thought we might have something. They just kind of equalized at the end and I could just chameleon the guys in front of me and not really do anything more with it. Proud of my guys, good momentum for us.”
CHANDLER SMITH, No. 18 JBL Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Finishing Position: 7th
How was the race today and how do you feel heading into the final race of this Playoff round?
“Overall, I felt like we had a really solid day. We were inside the top-10, top-five most of the day. Fell back there at the very end. Just started to lack a little lateral grip up the hill and I couldn’t really run the top due to just way too free right when I would touch the throttle. I couldn’t keep my momentum up at all. Overall, we had a really fast JBL Audio Toyota Tundra and I’m really happy heading to Bristol.”
How do you feel about your chances at Bristol?
“It’s Bristol, that’s the thing about it. You can be really good and then the lapped car can screw you, kind of like they were doing today a little bit and you’re out of it. I feel like we’ll be good, we just have to stay out of trouble.”
MATT CRAFTON, No. 88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota Tundra, ThorSport Racing
Finishing Position: 10th
How was your race today and how do you feel heading into Bristol next week?
“I don’t know where we are, but I think we should have a little bit of a cushion and be able to just go to Bristol and race and not have to worry about stage points and all that, just go there and win. I’m sure that’s what a lot of them are going to do. If you’re stuck in that box where you have to stay out and get stage points, that’s not ideal. All in all, we had a lot better truck than a 10th place truck. On the first pit stop, we broke a brake line and had no brakes the rest of the race. It wasn’t fun.”
— Toyota Racing —